As you’re about to embark on one of the craziest adventures you and your significant other will have, you’ll need a clear-cut strategy. That’s where SPM comes in. Attempting to demystify long distance-relationships (LDRs), this writer speaks from experience — and reading enough copies of Cosmopolitan.
1. Be clear about everything. Set the parameters.
This means having those potentially awkward conversations about time commitment, boundaries and classification much sooner than your counterpart couples. Not only does that include setting aside specific times in which to talk, Skype or write, but it also means setting a time table for your relationship. Will you go back to a “normal” relationship after you or he/she comes back? Establish a time when your LDR will end and simply become a relationship. LDRs don’t have to end in marriages, break ups or other extremes, but they are not sustainable for forever.
While you’re at it, try to establish a label for your relationship. It’s awkward, annoying and some people don’t believe in them. But regardless, it’s a conversation that needs to happen. Are you exclusively together or free to date other people? Everything comes down to definitions, and each situation is unique. Have an open, frank discussion about what you want the relationship to be about, but also factor in which areas you’re willing to compromise on. Like every other part of a relationship, there should be room for give and take, leaving you both content. If neither of you understand the boundaries and limitations of your relationship, you’re on a sure path to heartache.
2. Maintain a level of growth.
Your quirks, habits and fancies made your relationship blossom, so in order to sustain it, maintain those qualities while keeping in mind that college is about growth. Keep challenging yourself. Take time to evaluate yourself and your connection to your significant other. Make sure you’re urging each other to be better people and achieve more. Even in youth, relationships are supposed to help us grow: as a student, friend and person.
3. Set a schedule of some sort.
Since you’re not seeing your significant other every day, it’s important that you set time into your schedule just like any other class or a meeting. After you’ve acknowledged this, pick a time (factoring in time differences) that you can spend on the phone or on Skype. One of the great (albeit neglected) parts of a LDR is the option for long distance dates. It’s not necessary to talk on the phone every night or watch re-runs of “Law & Order.” But like an in-person relationship, shake things up. Have a date for take-out Chinese and a movie on a Saturday night over the phone or grab a to-go breakfast from your favorite eatery for a Skype breakfast before your early class. If the two of you were in person, you would aim for a once-a-week date, correct? Maintain this. Find a time that can be exclusively yours each week — that way you’re not trying to juggle your relationship with last minute assignments and Blackboard due dates. Since you’re not seeing your significant other everyday, it’s important that you make time in your schedule.
4. Communicate like never before!
Like in-person relationships, LDRs must have a solid base of communication. It is up to you and your partner to discuss the amount of communication (daily, weekly, etc.), but it has to be there. Or, pick less conventional methods. Text each other cheesy bedtime stories about evil dragons and those who slay them. Writer letters. Use stumbleupon.com to find the websites, photos and articles that interest you and then share why. If you’re super desperate for a mode of communication, send each other snippets of papers to proof.
- Set a timeline for when your LDR will simply become a relationship.
- Label the relationship and its parameters.
- Establish the amount of communication you both need.
- Compromise, because we’re all busy people.
- Make communication interesting and fun.
Don’t let miles, states and time zones discourage you. Long distance relationships are hard, but worth the effort.
This article was published by courtesy of State Press Magazine.